Earlier, I wrote a post entitled Thirty-eight and a half hours at the Stardust about Sparkle’s and my first Shadow Lane party.
This year’s post should be titled Sixty-seven hours at the Suncoast. In fact, it’s long enough that I’m going to split it up into a couple of parts.
Our saga actually began Thursday evening after work. I had planned on leaving work at 4 pm, but the life of a fireman is rarely that predictable. About 3 pm, our brush engine got called out for a major wildfire in a neighboring community, and I ended up leaving my normal desk job to backfill on our other engine until an overtime crew could be called in. I ended up leaving only 40 minutes late, but it put a bit of a rush on packing the truck and hitting the road.
We pulled into our old neighborhood in Southern California a bit past midnight. In case I haven’t mentioned it here, the house is in escrow and will no longer be ours come early October, but we still have it for the moment, so it was a good place to crash for the night.
Friday morning, we packed the princess’ things and took her down to my sister’ house. My sister and brother-in-law, who are expecting there own child in February, graciously offered to babysit for us this weekend so we could go to Vegas with “friends”. Their idea of babysitting was an overnight trip to Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel, two trips to the beach and apparently lots of candy. I’m not sure which part of the family had the better time: the small child or her kinky parents. I’m guessing it was a pretty fair toss-up.
Shortly after getting back to our house, Iris and M arrived. We’d invited them to ride with us to the party since airfare was outrageously expensive due to the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, Iris got herself in a bit of trouble with both M and I a couple weeks ago. M had already punished her, of course, but being 350-some miles away, I hadn’t had the chance to complete the final part: the one involving an ebony hairbrush. Our original plan had been to settle this account as soon as we got to Vegas (since we thought we’d be picking Iris and M up at their new apartment), but since they came to our place, we decided to take care of it before hitting the road. This meant that Iris got to spend four hours in the car sitting on a rather sore bottom, but it also meant that we didn’t have any unpleasantness hanging over the drive.
The drive was actually not bad. I’d expected more traffic on a holiday weekend, but we got lucky, at least on the drive to Vegas (more on the drive back later). It was good getting to catch up with Iris and M on the drive (we hadn’t seen them in about a month), and there were lots of laughs and a bit of bratting from the two young ladies (shocking, I know).
Somewhere during the drive, Mija called to touch base with us. We knew that she and Paul would be leaving about the same time as us, so we’d planned to meet up with them in Baker, which is about an hour from Vegas, for lunch. Iris, who had the phone, was talking to her, and asked where they were. Turned out they were about 10 minutes ahead of us on I-15 and driving a rust colored rented PT Cruiser, a color, according to Mija, which only a rental car company would own.
With this in mind, I made it my mission to catch up with them. After several miles, I saw, off in the distance, a rust colored PT Cruiser. A few minutes more driving, and we’d caught up with it.
Apparently, rust is a more popular color for PT Cruisers than any of us suspected. When we called Mija to tell her that there was apparently more than one of them heading towards Vegas, she said she hoped none of the brats in the car had mooned the unsuspecting motorist.
Thankfully, they know better than to bare their bottoms more often than necessary in front of two tops.
We pulled into Baker around 1:30, which is admittedly a bit late for lunch, and we were all ready to chow down at the famed Bun Boy Restaurant. Stopping there had been Mija’s suggestion, since it seemed a fitting restaurant for a bunch of spankos on their way to a spanking party to eat.
Unfortunately, while the Bun Boy Motel was still open, the restaurant had changed over to Bob’s Big Boy. I was actually rather pleased, as Bob’s is one of my all-time favorite burger places and there’ are relatively few around (and none that I’ve found up in Northern California). So, we had a lovely lunch, planning out the rest of the weekend.
Leaving Baker, we stopped for drinks, and Mija and Paul stopped for gas, so we ended up split up from them for the rest of the drive, which was uneventful until we hit the southern edge of Vegas. Here the traffic started. We pretty much crawled up I-15 the length of the Strip until my patience and Iris’ bladder were stretched to their limits and I pulled off a couple exits short. After a brief stop, we wended our way through the side streets with assistance from my GPS navigator until we got to I-95, which is the route to the Suncoast (which is out in Summerlin, to the north-west of the Strip).
I dropped the rest of my passengers off at the main door with all our luggage and went to find a parking spot. When I came back in, Sparkle was waiting with some of our luggage. Interestingly, the bags containing all of our implements had been taken upstairs by Iris and M, since Sparkle couldn’t handle all of our bags by herself.
We got checked in and went up to our room. We’d ended up in a room on the 9th floor, which was entirely occupied by party attendees. Given the early hour, we didn’t hear the multitude of smacking noises coming from behind every door as we had last year. The room was very nice. The main room had a king bed, which a half wall separating a sitting area with a couch. On the wall over the desk was a large LCD flat panel TV. The bathroom had double marble sinks with a separate shower/toilet area. Much nicer digs than the Stardust.
After unpacking, I ran downstairs to pick up some toiletries that we’d forgotten to pack. As I was entering the sundries shop in the casino, I heard “Chris! Chris! Chris!” from behind me and turned in time to get a huge hug from Kate James, the first partygoer I’d seen other than the ones we traveled with.
I went back up to the room and text messaged Iris to see what they were up to and to retrieve my wayward toy bag. Her response seemed to indicate that she felt Sparkle would be better off if she kept my toy bag for the weekend. I responded that while Sparkle might be better off, Iris definitely would not, and that there were plenty of people at the party who’d gladly loan me their toys to ensure that. Not surprisingly, Iris invited me down to their room immediately.
Iris and M, as well as Mija and Paul and several other of our friends, were down on the 5th floor, which was the other floor with all party attendees. I headed down, found their room and knocked.
A moment later the door was opened…by a man whom I didn’t know. At first, I thought I’d knocked on the wrong door, but then I heard Iris giggle from further in the room. Turns out that the man at the door was none other than HH, Niki Flynn’s significant other, both of whom I’d been looking forward to meeting for sometime. I was told Niki was in their room resting, but spent several minutes chatting with HH and another friend who was visiting Iris and M.
After retrieving my toy bag, we made plans t o meet up for the vendor fair, and I went back to our room to shower and change. After doing so, Sparkle and I decided we were hungry and went down for a bite to eat in the casino before the night’s festivities. A light appetizer buffet is provided at the vendor fair, but other seasoned party attendees had recommended last year that we eat before. We were among the first in the door and took a quick turn of the room while we waited for the others to arrive. We got a chance to say hi to our good friend Ian, the London Tanner, and meet his lovely assistant Aurora, as well as start drooling over his wares.
After the vendor fair, we were pretty wiped from two days of travelling and the fun thus far, so we ended up forgoing the suite parties and just hanging out with some of our friends in their room and chatting (no play even). I did briefly stop into the newcomers party hosted by Sandy and Radagast from the Shadow Lane chatroom (which just so happened to be directly across the hall from our room) and wish I could have stayed longer, as they’re both very nice people and were hosting an excellent event.
Upon saying goodnight to our friends, Sparkle and I returned to our room so I could try out our new toy and several older ones on her. By this point it was quite late and lo and behold, we were hungry, so we headed back downstairs for the infamous 3 AM Shadow Lane breakfast, followed by a few hours of sleep to prepare for the next day’s festivities.
And as this post is already quite long, let’s just say “to be continued.”